CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE MOVEMENT

v  The run-up to CDM

Ø  Calcutta session of congress:-

§  In december,1928 the Nehru report was approved.

§  The younger element expressed their dissatisfaction with dominion status as the goal of congress

§  They demanded, the congress to adopt purna swaraj or complete independence as its goal.

§  Gandhi and Motilal Nehru wished, the dominion status demand not be dropped in haste.

§  A 2 year grace period was given to the government to accept the demand for a dominion state. later, this period was reduced to 1 year.

§  They decided, if the government did not accept the constitution by the end of the year, they would not only demand independence but also launch a civil disobedience movement to attain their goal.

Ø  Political activity during 1929

§  Gandhi travelled incessantly-telling the youth to prepare for the fiery ordeal, and helping to organise constructive work in villages, and redressing specific grievances like BARDOLI AGITATION of 1928.

§  The Congress Working Committee (CWC) organised a foreign cloth boycott committee.

§  In march, 1929 in Calcutta, Gandhi initiated the campaign and was arrested.

§  Other activity during 1929 were Meerut conspiracy case (March), bomb explosion in central legislative assembly by Bhagat Singh and Battukeshwar Datt (April), the coming to power of the minority labour government led by Ramsay MacDonald in England in May, etc…

Ø   On October, 1929, Irwins statement reiterated the grant of dominion status, and promised a RTC to be held after the Simon commission report is submitted.

Ø  Delhi Manifesto

§  On November 2, 1929, a conference of prominent national leaders issues a ‘Delhi Manifesto’.

§  This manifesto put forward certain conditions;-

1.      The purpose of the RTC should be to formulate a constitution for implementing the dominion status.

2.     The congress should have majority representation at the RTC.

3.     There should be a general amnesty for political prisoners and a policy of conciliation.

§  The manifesto was rejected by Lord Irwin on December 23, 1929.

  • Ø  Lahore congress and purna swaraj

§  Nehru was nominated the president for the Lahore session of the congress(December 1929).

§  15 out of 18 provincial congress committees had opposed nehru.

§  Nehru was chosen bcz. ;-

1.      Congress acceptance of complete independence as its goal.

2.     To acknowledge the upsurge of youth which had made the anti-Simon campaign a huge success.

§  The following major decisions were taken at the Lahore session;-

1.      To boycott the RTC.

2.     Complete independence or purna swaraj as the aim of the congress.

3.     CWC was authorised to launch a programme of civil disobedience, and all members of legislatures were asked to resign their seats.

4.     January 26, 1930 was fixed as the first Independence Day, to be celebrated everywhere.

§  December 31, 1929 :- at midnight on the bank of river Ravi, tricolour flag of freedom was hoisted by Jawaharlal Nehru and chanted the slogans of ‘Inquilab Zindabad’.

  • Ø  January 26, 1930;- The Independence Pledge

§  Public meetings were organised all over the country and the independence pledge was read out in local languages and national flag was hoisted.

§  This pledge was drafted by Gandhi, made the following points:-

1.      Freedom is the inalienable right of the indians.

2.     The British govt. deprived us of freedom and exploited us, ruined us economically, politically, culturally, and spiritually.

3.     India must attain complete independence.

  • Ø  Gandhi’s eleven demands

Gandhi ji presented 11 demands to the government and gave an ultimatum of january 31, 1930 to accept or reject these demands.

The demands are as follows:-

1.      Reduce expenditure on army and civil services by 50%.

2.    Introduce total prohibition.

                  3.     Carry out reforms in crime investigation Department (CID).

4.     Change in Arms Act.

5.     Release political prisoners.

6.     Accept postal reservation bill.

7.     Reduce rupee-sterling exchange ratio to 1s 4d.

8.     Introduce textile protection.

9.     Reserve costal shipping for indians.

10.   Reduce land revenue by 50%.

11.    Abolish salt tax and government’s salt monopoly.

  1. v  Civil disobedience movement: - the salt satyagraha and other upsurges
  • Ø  Why salt was chosen as the Important theme: -

§  Everyone uses salt, so everyone has to pay the salt tax (absolutely regressive taxation).

§  Taking salt as symbol would have no socially divisive implications.

§  No-salt-tax would help everyone identify with the idea of and benefits of swaraj.

§  Salt afforded a small, but important income for the poor through self help(like khadi).

§  It connected rural and urban persons on a common issue.

  • Ø  Dandi March (March 12-April 6, 930)

§  On march 12, 1930, Gandhi ji informed the viceroy of his plan of action.

§  Gandhi along with a band of 78 members of Sabarmati ashram, was to march from Ahmedabad through the villages of Gujarat for 240 miles.

§  The historic March, making the launch of the civil disobedience movement, began on march 12.

§  Gandhi broke up the salt law by picking up a lump of salt at Dandi on April 6, 1930.

§  Gandhi gave the following direction: -

1.      Civil disobedience of salt law should be started.

2.     Foreign liquor and cloth shop should be picketed.

3.     We can refuse to pay taxes.

4.     Lawyers can give up their practices.

5.     Public can boycott law courts by refraining from litigation.

6.     Government servants can resign from their posts.

§  In Gujarat 300 village officials resigned in answer to Gandhi’s appeal.

  • Ø  Spread of salt law disobedience

§  Nehru’s arrest in April 1930 for defiance of the salt law.

§  On 4th May, Gandhi was arrested for announcing that he would lead a raid on Dharsana salt work.

§  Arrest was followed by massive protests and the CWC sanctioned: -

1.      Non payment of revenue in ryotwari areas.

2.     Non-payment of chowkadari tak.

3.     Violation of forest law.

§  The Dharsana raid was later led by Sarojini Naidu, Imam sahib and Manilal (son of Gandhi ji ) on May 21, 1930.

§  The peaceful raid met with brutal lathi charge by the police, yet get managed to inspire many other places to undertake similar raids.

§  Satyagraha at different places:-

1.      Tamil nadu :- in April 1930, C. Rajagopalachari organised a march from Tiruchirappalli to vederanniyam on the Thanjore (or Thanjavur) coast to break salt law.

2.     Malabar: -K. Kelappan organised salt marches on Calicut beach in November, 1930.

3.     Andhra region :- district salt marches were organised. A number of Sibirams (military style camps) were set up to serve as the headquarters of salt satyagraha.

4.     Orissa :- under Gopal bandhu choudhari, salt satyagraha proved effective in the costal regions of Balasore, Cuttak, and Puri district.

5.     In Assam, civil disobedience failed to regain the height due to the growing conflict b/w Assamese and Bengalis, Hindus and Muslims.

6.     In Bengal and Bihar people refused to pay chaukidari tax and started using khadi.

7.     Peshawar :-

·       Here Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan (Badshah khan/Frontier Gandhi), organised the volunteer brigade ‘Khudai Khidmatgars’ or Red-shirts to fight non-violently for freedom.

·       He started the first Pushto Political monthly called Pukhtoon.

·       On April, 1930, the arrest of congress leaders in the NWFP led to mass demonstrations in Peshawar, A section of Garhwal rifles refused to fire on an unarmed crowd.

8.     In Sholapur textile workers went on strike from 7 May after Gandhi’s arrest and burnt liquor shops and other government authority like railway station, police station, law courts, etc…

9.     In Gujarat and United Provinces a determined no tax movement was organised, including refusal to pay land revenue.

10.   Defiance of forest laws was seen in Maharashtra, Karnataka and central provinces.

11.    A revolt was led in Manipur and Nagaland by Rani Gaidinliu against foreign rule. 

  • Ø  Impact of agitation

1.      Imports of foreign clothes and items fell.

2.     Income from foreign liquor, excise and land revenue fell.

3.     elections to legislative assembly was boycotted.

  • Ø  Extent of mass participation

§  Women, students and youth played the most prominent part in the boycott of foreign cloth and liquor by picketing outside shops, opium dens.

§  Muslims participation was dim as compared to non cooperation movement, but was not negligible, some areas and classes showed massive support like NWFP and the middle class.

§  Merchants and petty traders were active in implementing the boycott especially in Tamil Nadu and Punjab.

§  Peasants were active in UP, Bihar and Gujarat.

§  Workers practiced in Bombay, Calcutta, Madras, Sholapur,etc..

§  Tribal peoples were active participants in central provinces, Maharashtra and Karnataka.

  • Ø  Government Response :- Efforts For Truce

§  Provincial governments were given freedom to ban CDM.

§  The CWC was declared illegal  after June.

§  There were lathi-charges and firing on unarmed crowd.

§  Thousands of satyagrahis and other congress leaders were imprisoned.

§  In July, 1930, the viceroy Lord Irwin, suggested a RTC and reiterated the goal of Dominion status.

§  In August, 1930 Motilal and Jawaharlal Nehru were taken to Yerawada jail to meet Gandhi to discuss the possibility of settlement with the government.

§  The Nehrus and Gandhi unequivocally reiterated the demand of :-

1.      Right of succession from britain.

2.     Complete National Government with control over defence and finance.

3.     An independent tribunal to settle Britan’s financial claims. 

  • Ø  Gandhi-Irwin Pact

§  On January 25, 1931, Gandhi and other members of CWC were released from jail.

§  The CWC authorised Gandhi to initiate discussion with the british government.

§  As a result of this discussion, a pact was signed on March 5, 1931, known as Delhi Pact or Gandhi-Irwin Pact.

§  Irwin on behalf of the government agreed on :-

1.      Immediate release of all political prisoners not convicted of violence.

2.     Remission of all fines not yet collected.

3.     Return of all land not yet sold.

4.     Lenient treatment to those government servants who had resigned.

5.     Right to make salt for personal consumption (not for sale).

6.     Right to peaceful and non-aggressive picketing.

7.     Withdrawal of all emergency ordinences.

§  The viceroy turned down two of Gandhi’s demands :-

1.      Public enquiry into police excesses.

2.     Commutation of Bhagat singh and his comrades death sentence to life sentence.

§  Gandhi on behalf of the congress agreed on :-

1.      To suspend CDM, and

2.     To participate in second RTC to discuss the constitutional status and reforms for India. 

  • Ø  Evaluation of CDM.

§  Many think that Gandhi’s decision to suspend the CDM was regressive, but it was needed because the masses were getting tired.

§  Many practicing groups like the youth and the peasants were disappointed.

§  Many others saw that the government had taken their efforts seriously and negotiated with their leader on an equal. The release of political prisoners was also welcome.

  • v  Civil Disobedience movement Resumed

§  On December 29, 1931, the CWC decided to resume the CDM after the failure of the second RTC.

§  Between March 1931 (signing of the Delhi Pact) and December 1931 (the second RTC) was a passive period in which the CDM was officially called off.

§  The British were determined that :-

1.      Gandhi would not be permitted to build up the tempo for a mass movement.

2.     Goodwill of the congress was not required but the confidence of those who supported the British against congress – government functionaries, loyalists, etc.. was very essential.

3.     The National movement would not be allowed to consolidate itself in rural areas.

§  After the CWC decided to resume the CDM, viceroy Willingdon refused a meeting with Gandhi on December 31, 1931.

§  On January 4, 1932, Gandhi was arrested.

  • Ø  Government repression

A series of repressive ordinances were issued by the government :-

1.      Congress organisations at all level were banned.

2.     Arrests were made of activists, leaders, sympathisers.

3.     Properties were confiscated.

4.     Gandhi’s ashrams were occupied.

5.     Press was gagged and nationalist literature banned.

§  Repression was particularly harsh on women.

  • Ø  Popular Response

§  People responded with anger, their response was massive.

§  This phase of CDM coincided with upsurges in two princely states – Kashmir and Alwar.

§  This phase of movement could not be sustained for long because :-

1.      Gandhi and the other leaders had no time to build up tempo.

2.     The masses were not prepared.

§  In April 1934, Gandhi decided to withdraw the CDM.

v  Comparison of  CDM with NCM.

NON-COOPERATION MOVEMENT

CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE MOVEMENT

1.        Objective was remedying the khilafat issue and swaraj.

2.       Non-cooperation was only with foreign rule.

3.      Intelligentsia were major carrier of protests.

4.       Mass Muslim participation.

5.       No mass imprisonment.

1.    Objective was purna swaraj.

 

2.   Breaking of law.

 

3.   Mass base in protests.

 

4.   Limited Muslim participation.

5.   About 90000 people imprisoned.